I may be the exception to the rule on this forum. My HTPC is geared almost entirely toward WAF (for those that don't know: Wife Acceptance Factor). My Media Center boots up into W7MC, and stays there. Multiple tuners and it stays out of the way. When she wants to watch TV, the tuners kick in. When she wants to see a Blueray, we have an Oppo83 she can use. I openly admit I make accessible BD which I've replaced or fear to replace (you have small kids and figure out how fragile discs are!) But, I can deal.
To this point, I've used FFDShow/x64/x32 for almost all of my purposes. It's suited me well.
Then again, DVD playback off the Oppo is incredibly higher quality then off the media center. Just a fact. And, no offense to Cyberlink, but I don't think there is much they can do to convert that.
However, part of the greatness of a setup like I run is that I archive -a ton- of TV. I mean -a ton- of TV. Thanks to Windows Home Server, and it's TV archiving options (built in and provided by MS, so there..) I store a big ole mess of it.
One thing I've discovered though is that despite my enjoyment of the MCE, the CODECs often suck. Even with FFDShow tweaked, performance still isn't what I'd want.
PowerDVD10 could be a good option here. But there are a few big issues:
(1) It's great it has it's own interface. But for people like me, we need that to dissappear. What we want is a seemless integration of the CODECs into Mediacenter, so that the codecs and functions can be setup and used without the user being aware everywhere.. from MCE Movie Library to MCE Videos. If Cyberlink provides this, and it's a picture quality improvement with MPEG2 and H264, I am absolutely there.
(2) I understand and respect the concerns with playing BD from a folder or from an ISO. Those are both understandable interpretation of the studio guidelines, and while members reasonably may not like it, I get it. It is what it is. However, the ability to play and intepret M2TS and MKV are important. It appears we've made some progress there. That's great. I store all of my "best" in those formats. If the Cyberlink CODEC is available using "Video Library" etc. functionality within W7MC, then I am happy.
(3) X64 support? I haven't seen this raised. Are there native X64 CODECs? Do they work as above (DXVA?)
(4) I'm using a ATI 5450. Fairly happy with it. I have a Denon 4806CI. I love that unit and am not in a giant rush to change. The sound quality for me is still incredible. And yes, it will handle 7.1... but only LPCM though it will take it via HDMI, so yes, decoded 7.1 would be a nice feature I would welcome.
Realize, the most significant impact of this for someone like me who is considering this product is our interest in it's functionality as something that can disappear within Media Center. No front ends, just complete control of CODECs that can be seemlessly managed without it having to be a chore.
The thing about something like FFD is that once I set it up, my wife never sees it again. She goes into "my videos" or pops in a DVD, and it goes .. no questions asked. If she needs to hop through another front end, then it's almost a lost cause
I love my wife, but at that point, it's too easy to just say "piss on it" and pop something into the Oppo..